The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Monday, January 31, 2005

Delphine Along, Anyone?

I was reading a post of Claudia's the other day where she waxed rhapsodic about the work of Delphine Wilson, Brit designer extraordinaire, and it made me think about this:

VK Wtr 96/97.

This confection is from my stash of Vogue Knitting magazines (my collection goes back to '88 or so), and it reminded me strongly of the body consciousness Wilson does so well with her fabulous knitwear. Continuing to peruse the collection, I found these other gems:

VK Fall '00, '02, Wtr 99/00, Wtr 96/97.

All of these are sweaters I strongly lusted after at one point or another, and I think it's time to bite the bullet and do something about it. So I am proposing a Delphine-Along. Any takers?
The "rules", as I see them, would be thus:

1) Patterns may be original or from a knit mag.
2) Garments should be more fitted/body conscious than not.
(note: this does not mean, necessarily, that the sweater needs to be of the "Look! Boobies!" variety.)
3) There should be some clever design element or texture that you haven't tried before.
(For example, I have not made anything with the medieval-type of sleeve that is one of Wilson's signatures, so that is on my list of techniques to include.)

Leave a comment or drop me an email (cmuknits AT yahoo DOT com) if you're interested.

In other news, this is what I was doing at 4:00 am Saturday morning:

Silk Garden hat: if you look very closely, you *may* see the cabled ribs.

I had eight stitches left. I made it.
I totally love this hat.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Blue Bel

I have hatched an evil plot to distract my visitors with adorable dog pictures, as there is no knitting of note for the last two days. Instead, I have been diligently participating in both my day job and the Board of Directors I sit on, making my contribution to the betterment of our fair city. It is a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

If you didn't visit the comments to the previous entry, you will note that the Boy-O insists that I danced about to the strains of the Black-Eyed Peas. This, of course, is nonsense. I do not "dance," as such. I can occasionally be found "shimmying" or perhaps, in a jovial mood, "bopping" to a beat. But as for dancing, no such thing occurs in this house. ;-D

I'm off to a glorious three-day weekend with the boy, the electric blanket, and our beloved Netflix. Whoo-hoo!
But first, as promised, puppy pics:

Belly boo...

Tom tom.

How could anyone resist those cute little faces?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

High KNoon

Just when I'd planned to do a photo demo on working with double points, I discovered Chris de Longpré's Knitting at KNoon video demonstrations. This covers lots of nifty techniques and, best of all, is free! Hurrah for brilliant and generous knitters.
In spite of the fact that I have several patterns I need to finish writing up, and umpteen UFOs, this cardigan is really calling to me.

Inspred by the success of the legwarmers, I have decided to go back to the torture of the Silk Garden beanie. It is not yet photo-worthy, so I am sparing y'all until I have had enough tequila to want to work on it it more accurately resembles a hat.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What a feelin...

As promised, my modified Leg-o-Chic Warmers are DONE! (Whoo-hoo! Drinks all around & Irene Cara on the jukebox!)

Flashdance, anyone?

Since these weren't the most complex of projects, I decided to mix it up a little and play with the decreases:

Whack decreases on the left, cool ones on the right.

On the left calf, I consciously kept all the decreases in knit sts, rather than the random fashion I used on the right (decrease type depended on what sts I came to before the marker). That second method, I think, was preferable.
That they don't match is of no consequence - I figure anybody who sees me in my legwarmers will be marrying me, and therefore doesn't carry if my sox don't match. (Sigh - I love that boy.)

Speaking of, here is the sleepyhead himself in the hat I made him before we left for Denver:

Top of the AWESOME Noro Kureyon 1 skein man hat. J'aime spiralling decreases. Tres elegant.

This is what the colors actually look like, though this is not what my honey usually looks like. The drugged-out look is 'cause it was 2 am...

Didn't think I'd enjoy Kureyon in a textured pattern quite this much, but I love it. I must have more. When payday comes, lookout...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Newbie doo-be-doo...

I met the cutest girl @ the bus station today. (Don't be thinking foolish thoughts. We were at the local Transit Center heading to our respective places of work.)

She noticed me knitting away on my version of the Legg-o Chic Leg warmers (Lovely pattern, Bonne Marie - thanks! Pics tomorrow.) and was fascinated by my knitting in the round. Turns out she and a group of her friends are teaching themselves --they even have a little club-- but some things just aren't so easy to get from a book. Of course, now that she's seen it done, it makes total sense. I encouraged her to be brave and give it a try.

Now I'm thinking there needs to be a photo tutorial on this, as the ones I've seen were either blurry or line drawings. Hmmm...gotta research that.

In other news, the Boy-O (my genius, genius beloved) has set up the email accounts for and is helping me learn all about coding for the new website ( I'm designing the look of it, and we will make it happen soon. Very exciting stuff!

Friday, January 21, 2005

And in the darkness bind them...

This is my way of mentioning that I have been added to the Mother of all Knitting Blog rings:

I feel especially smug because I have just gotten in under the wire. The ring is currently closed, as Julie (BoogaJ) is having busy-ness in her life. It will eventually re-open, or not, as she sees fit, but it's pretty cool to have just made it.

So: The trip to Denver was as good as could be expected. Long and painful, but cathartic in many ways.

There was a lot of this:

And this:

I swear there's a Wall Drug sign every 100 feet!

And this:

Guess where? That's right, still more of scenic SD.

There was also a good bit of car knitting, as we spent most days in transit from one place to another.


My kerchief in progress. Too bad it makes me look like a dork.
eventually became a very cute kerchief. The only problem, of course, being that I look like a complete moron in kerchiefs. So it will occasionally go 'round my neck to keep out the evil Minnesota snow.

This is the result of one day's car knitting.

Day one's work - I had to get proof, since it was ripped out immediately following this shot.

was unravelled when I realized how heinously skinny it was, and that there was no end in site if I continued on that path (size 7 needles and a massive number of sts that must be doubled every other round does not a happy knitter make!). Instead I created this lovely bit of foolishness:

The much, much better version of the travelling scarf.

which took about a day and a half of car knitting (including rest stops, lots of eating/drinking/navigating, and a little self-imposed discipline to stop working before permanently ruining my wrists).
It matches the little Vladimir Teriokhin design I made from VK a few years ago -- pattern was originally a dress, but I wasn't that patient -- since it is made from that sweater's leftovers. It's a lovely way to give some new life to that piece.

If you would like to make one, here's the "recipe:"

Cher's Travelling Scarf**
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Ultralight***
Needles: US 9/6mm.

Cast on 30 sts onto a 6mm ndl.
Row 1 (for our purposes, this is the "right" side): K1, yo, k to last two sts, k2 tog.
Row 2: K 28, k into back of next st, k1.

Repeat these two rows until boredom slaps you in the face.
(note: this only took twelve rows or so for me. Your mileage may vary.)
Decide to add some yarn overs for interest.

Pattern row (Row 3): K1, yo, *ssk, yo*. Repeat from * to * until two sts remain on left ndl. K2 tog.
Row 4: K 28, k into back of next st, k1.

This is a very good time to check your stitch count. If you discover that you have either 29 or 31 sts, you should perhaps re-do the row. Or not. Whatever.
You may add a stitch back on the next right side row by not doing the K2 tog at the end, or doing a k3 together at the end of the pattern row if you have one too many.

And that's all there is to it: work rows 1& 2 six times, then work rows 3 & 4 once. Continue knitting until out of yarn or patience.
My little scarf goes around the neck twice -- I just measured and it's 68" -- and used maybe 100-125 yards of yarn.


PS If you are a beginner, click here for a translation of the abbreviations I used.


** This pattern is, of course, copyright me, for your individual use only. It is not to be used for classes you teach or to be sold in shops. This pattern is FREE for anyone to use, but please respectful of my wishes and do not distribute/sell/include this pattern on your web site or transfer this pattern in any way without my express written permission and a copyright notice. Any and all rights reserved. (Sigh. I hate even having to think about this.)

*** This yarn is discontinued, but any fuzzy yarn will do. I suggest Lion Brand's Moonlight Mohair if you're looking for a cost-conscious approach, or any of the mohair blends by Mountain Colors if you're feeling indulgent.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Like a bad penny...

I don't actually know where that expression comes from or why it means what it means (that someone or something - usu. unwanted - always returns), but you can see a couple of guesses here and here. In any case, I just mean that the Boy-O and I have safely returned from our trip to attend Grandaddy Rep's memorial service.

The service was lovely, and I got to meet many more Repennings than I ever expected to before my wedding. Boy-O's mom did a lovely job organizing the event - I think both the scientists and the family understood the old man a bit more.

I'm exhausted and need to shower, so there will be more at another time, including a little bit of knitting that I managed to get done. For the moment, I leave you with this lovely photo from Cheyenne, Wyoming:

There. Are. No. Words.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hipper than Thou

The Boy-O hipped me to this funky site: Rugged Art. Pretty fly, innit?
Sorry - I've been listening to the Black-Eyed Peas. Makes me reminisce about my wild and wooly twenties and the fascinating slang therein.
[Yeah, right. The wildest thing I did in my twenties was going to see Garth Brooks at the Red River Valley Fair. Guess who was the only brown person there?] =-O

I am packing a giant chunk of yarn to take the Mom-O. She managed to separate much of the stash from the giant snarl it was in:

A Sorted Stash. Get it? (Hee. I crack myself up.)

... so I figure it's only fair that she receive a generous portion as a reward:

Pressies for the Mom-O.

Much of the rest will become swatches for my new class on Color Knitting (coming to a yarn shop near you! Assuming you live in North Minneapolis, that is).
I'm looking forward to teaching that one next weekend.

And this fine piece of knitting, found under the sofa during the stash pack-up?

It promises to someday become a sweater for moi. Created by none other than my beloved.

Friday, January 14, 2005

On the road again...

I am in the process of devising an Aran sweater. (With many hours of passenger side traveling ahead of me, I need something to think about.)
Below are the swatches:

Aran sweater swatch.

This is (ostensibly) for the Boy-O, though I think I'm getting just as much out of designing it as he will from wearing.
Here's a close-up of the sts:

Close-up of the fab Donegal Tweed.

I made individual swatches of the patterns so that I could re-arrange them at will - these are just pinned together. I think it's a pretty good combo and my Boy-O agrees.
Because this yarn is so tweedy/busy/hairy, I think I will have to go down a needle size to get more stitch definition (this request is straight from the horse's mouth, BTW. Since he's been creating sketches for me, the Boy has expressed many fashion opinions I did not know he had. Who knew I had my own little Armani in the house?).
But I like the "walk across the misty moors" feeling this yarn has.
[I have no idea if this color even has a name - it's a moody sort of grey with neps of natural, brown and black.]

Besides, if this works out, I might want to make a sweater for myself.
Then we'll be that insufferably cute couple everyone hates. ;-D

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Just Say No

Along with my copy of the Winter issue of VK (What the heck is their publishing schedule, anyway? It always seems so random) I got the nicest rejection letter from another magazine. The editor was very encouraging, taking time to point out specific things they liked about my work - lovely. I appreciate a good no as much as anyone, and this was the best.

I like these ideas enough that I feel confident in submitting them elsewhere, so I've got to do that pretty soon. I have a couple of other things under consideration elsewhere, too - we'll see what happens with those.

Monday, January 10, 2005

...and taxes

My fiance's grandfather* was killed last week, and we have spent the week-end trying to get over the shock, and making arrangements to attend the memorial service next week. It has been a nightmare, emotionally and otherwise. I cannot fathom how someone could possibly choose to deliberately hurt a helpless old man. I will never know what in a person's life could make them become so evil. Because that's what it is: pure evil.
It's why I always say (only half-joking) that I can never be a full-on liberal. I truly believe that some actions are so heinous, so far beyond the pale, that they deserve the ultimate punishment.

I have been knitting like mad. It's the most solace I can find, and I like to think it gives my beloved a tiny sense that normal will return.

*His grandfather was, by all reports, a brilliant scientist, and a cantankerous old fart. I'm so sorry I never got to meet him.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Away for Some Days

There has been a significant family tragedy. Boy-O and I are trying to work out the details of travel, etc., so there will be no blogging for a few days.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Finding My Balance

It's funny - the degree to which I was ridiculous, unreasonably displeased with Noro's Silk Garden is exactly the degree to which I am loving their Kureyon.
It is wool. It is beautiful. I will have the Coolest Hat on the Planet.

Part of the problem yesterday, I think, was trying to design the hat on the fly. I admire knitters who do, but that's not how I work best. So, returning to my normal "good knitter" behavior, I swatched up this beautiful stuff, and then went to town.

Lovely, lovely Kureyon...

Bad photo, but the colors are much truer...

I should've been asleep hours ago, but I can't stop knitting this beautiful stuff. I may be finished with this hat by tomorrow. Then we'll see how we feel about that (shudder) other stuff.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Clusters of crocus...

First things first: if you can, please consider donating to Mercy Corps or the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders or whomever you find worthy. The Yarn Harlot has chosen MSF(The Canadian version of Doctors w/o Borders) as her charity of choice; Mercy Corps is where we are donating. Whatever you choose.

Second, I'm doing my first sock exchange!* Hosted by the lovely Alison @ The Blue Blog, it has over 100 participants raring to go. Very exciting stuff. As soon as I re-learn how to edit the dang side bar stuff, I will get this linked and set up.

Thirdly, and related to the title of today's entry. I hav ebeen playing around with Noro's Silk Garden. Many knitters I know have waxed poetic about the virtues of this yarn for a long while, so I wanted to see what the hype was all about.

It did not go well.

I decided I wanted to do a simple hat (fabulous pattern here). Then I decided that I really wanted to do it from the top down. So I whipped out my trusty copy of Knitting From the Top, checked the very general instructions and off I went.

Tihis yarn fought me every step of the way. It is crazy thick-and-thin (the thick bits being terribly unwieldy and the thin bits making me search for my glasses), its hand varies from incredibly soft to brillo-esque and I think the sheep were trying to save themselves a snack but got shorn before they could get to the bits of hay that were left in the yarn.

After several frustratng attempts to cast on and join I got this far:

The start of something big...

By this time, the texture has mellowed somewhat. I'm increasing away, things are going great, the colorway is looking spectacular, and then I decided what this hat really needs (after all that boring increasing) is a fancy texture pattern on the side. So off I go again to the font of knowledge that is the Barbara Walker collection. Finding the lovely Ripple Rib, I choose that as my next texture and go to town.

As I'm knitting- and debating mightily with myself about the wisdom of adding texture to this already busy yarn - I get a strong urge to check out the sizing.
"Feh," says I. "I know my gauge is 5 sts to the inch. What do I need to measure for? I wouldn't waste my time."

But after struggling thrtough 16 rows of this pattern and this yarn, I couldn't wait and put the stitches on a size 6 circular:

Lovely. Interesting. LARGE.

"Hmmm," says I . "It may be a little ... big. I'll just check my gauge again."
You already know what's coming, don't you? Of course my gauge on that ribbing pattern was FOUR STS TO THE INCH. ARRRRRRRRRGH! (Insert epithet of choice here. I know I did.)

So: it's off to the Frog Pond I go. Never mind that I've been knitting for nearly 20 years (!). Nevermind that I teach knitting, for goodness' sake. Some days, the universe is just not on your side.
I can only claim absolute, exhausted obsession. I did not have the luxury of doing what the dogs did all day...

Sleeping dogs lying.

*I had tried once before, but my sock buddy disappeared from the list before we could exchange sox & info. Sad, but true.